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Joyce explains new apprenticeship scheme

About 7000 apprentices enrol each year and the government will increase the number of subsidised places so an additional 14,000 start training over the next five years, Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

Explaining the programme announced by Prime Minister John Key on Friday, he says that from January 1 next year the current Modern Apprenticeships Scheme, and all other training schemes, will be combined into a single scheme.

Overall, subsidy payments will be increased by about $12 million in the first year, rising over time.

"Increased funding for apprenticeships will allow industry training organisations to invest in the quality of education for apprentices, lower fees for employers and encourage growth in the uptake of apprentices," Mr Joyce said.

"The changes are being funded from the money we have saved by tightening up the industry training system to remove tens of thousands of `phantom trainees' under the previous Labour government that were not earning any credits."

The first 10,000 new apprentices who enrol after April 1 this year will be given $1000 towards their tools, or $2000 if they are in priority construction trades.

"Delivering skilled and safe workplaces is a key plank of the government's business growth agenda to lift productivity, deliver higher wages and living standards and build a faster growing and more competitive economy," Mr Joyce said.